Seed Sprouting For Health and Taste

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Seed sprouts have been grown as healthy food for a very long time. When people think of sprouts, many think of the mung bean sprouts in Asian dishes. All sprouts start out as seeds. Most seeds can be sprouted and eaten, and some taste good.

Some plants like wheat grass, are grown in dirt and then are "mowed". All other sprouts require only clean water and light to grow. Sprout seeds are first soaked in clean water for a few hours. Then they are rinsed with clean water, 2-3 times a day until done.

Many sprouts are bitter. Bitter-tasting sprouts taste much better when used as seasoning and mixed with other sprouts. Mixing sprouts usually improves the taste as compared to any one kind of sprout. For example, mixing one part radish with two parts alfalfa works well. It is usually best to mix seeds before you soak them, unless seeds require very different soak times.

Sometimes the seeds in mixes from sprouting stores require different soaking times. For example, adzuki beans can be soaked for 24 hours, while other seeds require just six hours of soak time. By the time adzuki seeds are ready to drain, the other seeds may be starting to drown.

Seeds for sprouting are cheap, especially when you consider how much they expand when they grow. One can buy sprouting seeds in health stores or web stores. Two web sites I like are and has no shipping charges on big orders, and has great prices. If you pick a medium size, the seeds come in resealable Ziploc bags. If you order either a tiny bag or a big bag, they are not resealable, so use freezer ziploc bags or Tupperware. is run by Mumms, the seed people. usually (but not always) has higher prices. They have great info on their web site, more variety, and carry better sprouting equipment. It's worth ordering from SproutPeople even if their prices are a bit higher.

There are many ways to grow sprouts. Using a simple plastic device usually makes it easier. A cheap sprouter that works very well is the Sproutamo EasySprout (about $13). It's not perfect because it lets the seeds at the bottom stay too wet.

However the Sproutamo is the most convenient sprouting device I've tried so far. As long as you drain seeds very well, it makes great sprouts. I discarded Sproutamo's included small-seed screen. (You have to bump and shake the sprouter to get all the water out after rinsing, which makes it comes loose.)

Sprouts are always started by soaking them in water. When the seeds are big (such as peas) you can soak them in a sprouting device like the Sproutamo.

One convenient way to soak tiny seeds is to use a paper disposable cup (or a clean bowl) for 6-12 hours. Then you can put the soaked seeds into the Sproutamo EasySprout, without using Sproutamo's small screen.

After the seeds are soaked, you drain them, and let them grow under light (indirect sunlight or a fluorescent light, they don't need much light). You rinse and drain sprouts two or three times a day until they are done.

When are sprouts ready to eat? The answer is up to you. As soon as the plants sprout from the seeds, they can be eaten. If you let them grow too long, they may be tough or bitter. Experiment until you find the right grow times. Most sprouts are ready to eat in 2-3 days.

How do sprouts taste? That depends on which seed, how long they grow, and your enjoyment of raw crunchy veggies. Sprouts can be used in cooking such as stews, chili, or as an ingredient for making bread. Adventurous people have used sprouts instead of rice with Thai food.

If you (or your gang) are not going to eat all the sprouts now, they store well for a few days in the refrigerator. You can use one-gallon Ziploc bags to store sprouts in the refrigerator. Also, bags make mixing sprouts easy. Another way to store sprouts short term, is in a disposable paper cup in the refrigerator. You can carry them, eat them on the go, etc.

One must sterilize sprouting equipment between uses. The way I do this (with glass or plastic sprouters) is to use a microwave oven. After cleaning the sprouter by hand, I rinse it with water in the sink. Then I fill the sprouter half-way with water, or make sure it's wet all over, if it is a porous type of sprouter.

Microwave the sprouter for 3-5 minutes to get the water inside very hot, almost boiling. Then dump the hot water carefully, and rinse it with cold, clean water and let it dry. I think this does the job well. Be careful not to let things melt.

Here is a list of sprouts and mixes I recommend:

Crunchy Bean Mix from Not all seeds sprout at the same time, and there are some duds, but it is a good mix. Grow to 3/4 to one inch.

Peasant Mix from A mix of 5-6 different kinds of lentils.

Marrowfat Peas from These taste better than plain green peas, and are bigger too. Some seeds are yellow, some are green. Grow to about 3/4 inch.

Sandwich Booster from Good blend of alfalfa, clover, radish, and canola.

Peasant Mix from A mix of 5-6 different kinds of lentils.

Alfalfa grow in 3-4 days, expands a lot.

Red (Crimson) Lentils are fast growing and grows in two days, grow to 3/4 inch.

Pea Carnival  from A mix of 5-6 different peas.

French Green Lentils - fast growing, grow to 3/4 inch in two days.


Mark D. Shapiro - 

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